Yoga Teacher Talk is a series written with the new, current or prospective yoga teacher in mind. Over on the yoga forum, we have a dedicated space for people to write in and ask questions or share stories about all things related to teaching yoga. Hope you'll join in!
I've been receiving a number of emails about blogging and teaching yoga, and the other day I received the following from a yoga teacher in Seattle, WA. She wrote:
Since there are so many questions coming in about blogging, I thought I'd take the time to publicly answer that yes, I'm happy to help!
Step 1: Figure out the purpose of your online presence
I guess the first question to start off asking yourself is how important the blogging and social media is for your yoga career. What are the purposes of the blog, the social media interactions and the PR? Is it to cultivate a sense of community with your students? Is it self-promotion? (And there's nothing wrong with that, by the way! Yoga instructors need to market themselves!) Or maybe it's a little of both? Once you answer that question, let's talk finances.
Let's talk money, honey.
I know, I know. Teaching yoga isn't about the money. But unless good karma can pay the bills, we need to talk money. Can you financially thrive off of the classes and privates you're giving? If so, then maybe blogging and social media isn't that important for your business, and a few Facebook or instagram posts a couple times per week is all it will take to keep your sense of community going with your students. If that's the case, Facebook Pages allow for scheduled posts so I'd suggest spending some time at the beginning of each month to schedule posts all at once and not have to think about it again until the following month.
However, if teaching classes and privates isn't bringing you financial stability, then using your blog and social media accounts as a marketing tool for yourself is going to be pretty important. If this is the case, it's just a matter of determining what kind of content you want to put out there and how long it will take to create. There are two things to consider when it comes to content.
- Will you be creating original content? That will be much more labor intensive, because the thing about a blog is that it's supposed to look so effortless but the behind-the-scenes is a little out of control between writing, shooting, editing, and promoting the posts.
- If you don't have a ton of extra time, maybe you'll just share cool things you come across and offer your spin on things. That will take far less time, but still be helpful to people.
For me personally, I move often due to my husband's job, so it's hard for me to build a strong local following somewhere since we are always bouncing from place to place. Therefore, the online side of it all is very important to me. I create original content, and plan the blog posts about two to three weeks in advance. If I'm not traveling, I work between six and ten hours a day on the blog and other events I have coming up and while I try to take one day off per week, I usually end up working two to three hours. In between my working hours for blogging and other business related things, I will schedule my meetings, classes, privates, custom dvd shoots, my own personal practice and my own workout. I feel like in some way, I am doing something yoga-related almost all day! This has worked out really well for me - I love my schedule and I absolutely love my job. Here are some tips I've learned along the way:
- Be efficient. Doing your own practice? Film a little something when you're finished. You'll be warmed up, maybe inspired by what you just did, and you'll already have your mat ready and yoga clothes on. You can use the content for your blog or instagram.
- To do lists are fantastic. You may have seen my post on instagram recently. I make a daily to do list and don't stop working for the day until the list is completely crossed off.
- Learn what works and what doesn't in social media. Examine the posts you like and are inclined to share. Why? Fill your feeds with something similar so that your followers will enjoy them and be inclined to share as well. If you just post random things just for the sake of posting something, they may not be as engaging and it'll wind up being a waste of your time.
- Treat your blog like a job. Especially if you're counting on it as part of your marketing strategy. Schedule time when you can work on it, and think of those times as if they were a private lesson with a client. You wouldn't cancel on the client, so don't cancel on your scheduled time to write. View the blog as an extension of your teaching and it'll help attract more potential students.
I hope that helps!
Of note (shameless plug): At the end of June, I will be offering a weekend Yoga & Blogging Retreat. Over the weekend I'll give seven blogging workshops:
- Blogging basics
- How to earn money from blogging
- Photography Tips (includes a headshot photoshoot)
- Social Media Strategy
- Marketing and Content Development
- How to work with brands within your blog's niche
- Secrets to a successful YouTube channel
- And each day we'll have a Bloggers' Tea Time where we will discuss specific concerns and questions and offer feedback.
Full details with more info on the workshops will be announced on January 6th, 2015, and an email to VIPs will be going out soon. Click here if you want to be on the list!
Let's talk Other yoga teachers - what advice would you add? Yoga students, any tips for teachers who are building an online presence?